Sunday, March 29, 2015

looking for construction techniques on intersecting compound curves

I always admired that quote by Jean Prouve: "never design something that cannot be made". here I am, flaunting that advice and wading into the deep end of the pool.

wondering how the heck i'm going to implement the following, a back to the built-in trundle bed for our guest room. overall dimensions are roughly 72" longx18" high, by about 42" depth. The trundle bed is built into the corner of the room, so this "headboard" wraps around the bed along the wall.

The idea being one could relax in an upright position and read or watch youtube videos or whatever. I wanted to make a little curve to the back for comfort, and a curve to the edges to soften the overall appearance of the structure.

So how do you make this? My running plan is a frame-and-panel approach, with coopered panels, and curved stiles. The problem is how to jig-up and route a stile groove that curves in two directions.

Edit: more on ticking sticks as a means to transfer one curve to another

Sunday, January 11, 2015

getting to know the Grizzly G1023RLW Table Saw (plus 1st project)

I'd been weighing the choice to get a table saw for years. Up to now, I got by without one through my hand saws, or a circular saw. But there are certain things I want to do where a tablesaw has an advantage, like accurate, reproducible crosscuts. or building cabinets from sheet goods. With a bathroom and kitchen remodel on my horizon, I'm hoping my table saw can get me through a lot of grunt work.

I also know it's a machine with a reputation of biting you badly if you mistreat it. I intend to operate the saw with my best discipline

I chose this Grizzly for many reasons.

  • Lots of positive reviews on forums. Here's a compelling youtube video by professional turner Stephen Ogle
  • a very accurate fence,
  • a router insert on the right side table.
  • I've had good success with the Grizzly band saw and drill press
  • Good customer service
  • Made in Taiwan
  • ~$1500 delivered to my door
  • it has more than enough power for me now (with some room to grow into with working more challenging woods).

It arrived mid December 2014 via lift gate to by driveway. Here it is in it's current formation.

The crate was well intact when I received it, I fabbed up a sturdy dolly to ease it back into my shop. luckily i had some old OSB that improvised as tracks through the perilous ginger rock sea in our garden. this was arduous.
The thing came well packed, everything had its place. no missing parts, lots of documentation. also lots of that rust protectant on the cast iron pieces. I believe the call it cosmolene. Look at those gorgeous hand wheels. They are sweet to the touch.
Some hours pass since the preceding photo and the one below. That's the shaft that a gear attaches to, for tilting the trunnion. It's bent because I managed to tip the saw over while getting it onto the mobile base. landed right on the tilt wheel. That was a bad moment. so bad, i couldn't even cuss. Try not to do that.

Grizzly tech support was very helpful, and they had a spare tilt shaft in their warehouse for something like $8 and change. I followed his instructions to verify that there was no damage to the trunnions. Since it was a slow tip-over onto a plywood floor, it seemed like the damage was localized to the shaft itself.

the upshot is that I had a week to spend removing caked on cosmoline, and waxing the gorgeous, flat machined table tops.

Since I had to take the table off and get into the guts of the machine to replace the tilt shaft, I knew I'd be on the hook to completely dial in the table alignment with the trunion. You're supposed to calibrate the machine anyway, but apparently these things tend to come from the factory in remarkably fair tune. It was good practice.

here, I'm doing my best to establish blade to miter slot parallelism. Using a 1/64th rule to measure the distance. I used the combo square to make sure the rule was perpendicular to the miter slot as possible.

Here are a few views of the arrangement. Previously I had built some 34" high roller tables that I use for all sorts of purposes in my shop, primarily for breaking down sheet goods with my track saw. very handy with lockable casters. They're about a 1/2" short of the tablesaw height, so I quickly fabbed up some outfeed planks from scrap ply. this just sits ontop of one of the tables, and the spacing allows for miter sleds to run through without interference. It works okay for now.
An accurate crosscut sled was next on the agenda. I read plans from lots of folks, tried setting the fence using the William Ng method where you take 5 successive cuts from a rectangular piece and on the last cut measure the difference in width front to back of the resulting piece. I only have a caliper measuring to 1/64th, so i'm not going to fuss too much about it. Probably the more appropriate test for me would be to cut a board in 2, flip one side and see if the edges line up OK.
Here's a panel sled, hopefully good for squaring off larger panels when doing casework.
I added a larger wood fence to the miter guage that came with the saw. The thing did not come predrilled with any way to attach the fence, so I had to drill out the holes. Luckily the metal was soft enough that my cordless drill made quick work of it.
Here's a view of the splitter/guard assy. I tried using it for a couple through cuts. Boy it really is hard to see what you're cutting with this thing in place.
For my first project, I wanted to build a roller chest of drawers like you see for automotive tools. I wanted something similar for my garage and this seemed like a low-key way to get used to the new saw. The objective was to build something as square as possible, fitting directly from the saw. This will become important as I tackle other cabinetry projects for the garage, bathroom and eventually the kitchen.

So here it is, 32" high, 20" wide, made of crappy birch ply. Waterbased poly for finish. cutting techniques used:

  • Rabbet for back pannel
  • dado/rabbet drawer box joints (from Bob Lang's Kitchen Cabinetry book -- solid read!)
  • Dados
close up of the drawer joint. Used a 1/4" dado stack.

Monday, November 3, 2014

diablo woodworker club auction jewelry box in reclaimed redwood part ii

well it's done, learned a lot and also am left with questions on finishing.

the small scale of this sort of project magnifies every little mistake. i chose a Watco danish oil finish with a few coats of wax. I'm left a little disappointed in the result with patches of a nice satiny gloss, and then some dull spots. perhaps not the best finishing schedule for redwood.

Previously, I mentioned having built the carcass wide. I saw no alternative but to remake the tail boards, 1/16" shorter. I traced them off the pins of the front and back, which is the reverse of how I normally do this operation (tails-first). the results are what they are. this is very delicate wood and fractures across the grain very easily. had to bob off the bottom of the pool on my toes to get one nostril above the waterline.

a note on these hinges. Brusso makes them. they're kind of like regular butt hinges, but htey stop at 95deg opening. I had to prune the screws a bit in order to not punch through the lid. The hinges are marvelously made, but I dont think i'll be using the 95deg kind again as I don't like the load they might put on the screws. A heavy handed user might wear out the threads of this soft redwood pretty quick. we'll just have to see.

These hinges were my first chance to use the new Lee Valley mini router plane. it was a joy to work with.

Just enough of lift off these little feet to hover the box over the surface a bit.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

diablo woodworker club auction jewelry box in reclaimed redwood part i

I've hooked up with the Diablo Woodworker Club in near by pleasant hill, CA. Nice folks who meet monthly at an adult education compound conveniently located near the BART line so I can show up at their meetings without having to drive in traffic.

What's unique to this club is that they do not charge dues, however we need to make some $ to pay for space, insurance, and usual stuff necessary for any group of people these days.

Soon the club will be entering member built work at a local craft fair to help cover expenses, so this is my first of hopefully many entries to help things along. The design I chose originates from a build-video that Marc Spagnolo did with Gary Rognowski here.

I loved the idea of gluing antique paper to the base of the box instead of the usual velvet or suede you typically see in a jewelry box. I also liked the overall proportions and there is a very handy primer in how to do bridle joints off the band saw. My project diverges by using a frame/panel lid since the hinge hardware I had wouldn't work with thin panels (but I used slip/bridle joints for the panel). I also elected to use 1/2 lap dovetails for the carcass joints to make the front side of the box as calm as possible, and show off this gorgeous redwood I found at the junk yard, Urban Ore

So now I need to figure out what my bandsaw's kerf offset is.

This is used to offset the finger joints along the fence like so

Works a Treat!

I improvised a router table from some plywood to help me groove out the panel recesses in the frame pieces. I learned it's best to do this BEFORE you cut your bridle joints as there's too little supporting wood in the tenons to resist blowout. Also, I love the feather boards. So simple to make and really hold your work to the fence.

Oh and this Lee Valley 6" square is an adorable tool. I use it almost all the time. True winner.

Here's a fix I had to do to one piece where I fired up the router when the wood was too close to the bit and it shot out the backside. Good learning experience.

Here's the lid panel, book matched from two slices of quarter sawn redwood.

The frame was squared and clamped up on top of the panel, and panel raising lines were derived insitu with the help of the blue tape gods

the bottom of the box will have magenta silk from my dear uncle michael via India. Bonded to the wood using white Elmer's diluted with water, applied with a course chip brush.

Needed to use a 25deg bevel on my 6mm chisel to shear the brittle fibers well enough. Still found this wood to be very unforgiving and weak cross grain, typical redwood, but I love it nonetheless.

And then things went awry. I mismeasured the depth of the box, and made the carcass too deep against the lid. The lid would have been the better choice to build too deep, as it's easier to trim. The half lap dovetails don't look right when the thickness of the outer end grain section gets too thin. I spent about 6 hours last night coming to the terms with the fact that there wasn't a satisfactory fix to this involving tapers. Plus I was not so happy with the way the gappy dovetails ended up. I needed the practice, and the grapes were sour.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

trundle bed part i

we've got plans to have a nice trundle bed in the corner of the guest room. The sketch-up (ketchup) drawing below shows the plywood components, excepting the one cross beam (more on that further down). These will then be clad in reclaimed redwood frame and panel facades.

For us, we wanted as low a profile as possible with the bed as it's going to mostly be used as a spot to lounge on and it's nice to be lower slung. But trundle beds tend to have a really tall profile due to the need for an extra tall span running along the opening for the lower mattress and all it's required debris. We're opting for futons with ~ 6" of loft. Casters are around 1,1/4" tall.

I talked to dad about it. he did a few quick sketches and sent them my way, recommending an aluminum I-Beam construction for the span. His calcs indicating that 2, 2" wide by 1/8" thick soft aluminum straps in a 4" I-beam should support 300 pounds of human pretty well along a 6' span. So it goes.

I concluded today with the beam, a lamination of doug fir that's 4,1/4"x2,1/2"x79,1/2" with the alu straps recessed into place. Epoxy and 2" flathead screws secure it to the wood. This ought to work, hopefully!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

reclaimed doug fir shelving part vi: desk assy and final install

12' x 9' shelving unit fully installed, with LED trim lighting and attached desk now ready to be enjoyed.

I left off with the joining/shaping of the desk legs. I chose to join the trapezoidal leg/stretcher shapes beforehand, and then beaver out waste with the band saw, draw-knife, spoke-shave, saw-rasp, and then manual sanding in that order. The joint between the legs and the stretcher is draw-bored. due to the shaping, a sizeable "shoulder" around the mortice is present. I could have doubled the time by doing all the shaping beforehand, but for this piece, i'm just experimenting with the overall shape and flow of the legs, and so I took this short cut.

I used a fabric cutting mat to help get close leg length dimensions. This desk surface is going to be on level with the step-back shelf on the wall.

Final shaping/sanding of the joint. Very laborious and in the end, I still left more than a few ugly sanding marks that showed up after applying the Danish Oil.

My very patient and awesome wife, sarah and shop-cat Paulo, frollicking in the shavings from the work.

here the desk surfaces and legs stand after some initial Danish Oil. I noticed the quart I got recently was very thick. It was unpleasant to wipe off to the point of being gummy. seems like they changed their formula.

but then the other day i found a pint at the store and sloshed it around, and it sounded like it was thinner. well sure enough, it was thinner, and behaved like the watco i remember earlier. Maybe the pint was from an older batch. I wonder, does anyone know what I could use to thin the viscous stuff if this is how they intend to make it? Or should I go for denatured alcohol and shellack?

Here is the larger section of desk installed. One outboard leg and tabs screwed/glued into the underside of the shelf setback. The other little desk is in the corner to the left of the reference frame here.

I tested the strength of these tabs holding power on my bench first

here's the corner desk that sarah asked for. it's just laptop computer size

Thanks for looking this over! Now onto a trundle bed for this room. I need to get it done before winter so that we have a decent snuggling perch for watching TV shows about the end of the world.